Microscopic colitis is an inflammatory disease of the large intestine or the colon. It is known as microscopic colitis, because this inflammation cannot be seen by naked eyes. It is not visible in regular colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. A sample of the tissue has to be investigated under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis of this colitis.
Does Microscopic Colitis Ever Go Away?
Well, presently there is no cure for microscopic colitis. This is because the exact cause of the disease is not yet known. However, one cannot say that it will never go away, as it is possible to manage the symptoms through treatment. The following line of treatment can be followed to get relief from symptoms like diarrhea, pain and dehydration.
- If the symptoms are milder, the condition of microscopic colitis may improve on its own without any interference.
- To reduce diarrhoea and other symptoms, dietary changes are advised.
- Fluid intake must be increased. Supporting with electrolyte drinks, like the ones containing sodium and potassium may be advised, to restore the loss of electrolytes due to diarrhoea in microscopic colitis.
- The intake of drinks and foods containing lots of sugars is avoided. In order to avoid any type of irritation to the digestive system, foods that are oily, spicy and fatty must be avoided.
- Alcohol should be avoided as it is dehydrating; and caffeine is to be avoided as it is stimulating to the digestive system.
- Aerated and carbonated beverages are to be avoided as well, as this kind of drinks can cause a gassy stomach and worsen the symptoms.
- Raw vegetables are difficult to digest. Hence these are to be avoided. Food should be well-cooked before consumption in microscopic colitis.
- One full, large meal can be difficult to digest, as the digestive system is already week in this disease. Hence, frequently eating small meals can be helpful in digestion.
- If microscopic colitis is caused due to some medicines, then such medicines must be stopped after proper consultation with the doctor and they must be substituted with other different and safe alternatives suitable for you.
- To reduce the diarrhoea in microscopic colitis, anti-diarrheal drugs may be prescribed.
- If the above remedies do not prove to be efficient, a physician may recommend steroids, to relieve the symptoms.
- Surgery might be needed on rarest of the rare occasions.
- Microscopic colitis cannot be prevented either. As there is no known cause for the disease, it is difficult to chalk out any measures for its prevention.
There is no cure for microscopic colitis presently, though one cannot say that it will never go away. It is quite treatable with proper medications and recommended dietary changes. The prognosis of the disease in the long run is also not very clear. It is seen to be recurring in some cases.
- Microscopic colitis has two subtypes – collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis.
- Collagenous colitis is the one in which there is a thick layer of a protein called collagen deposited on the tissue of the colon.
- Lymphocytic colitis is the one in which the number of lymphocytes, that is the white blood cells, increases in the tissue of the colon.
Let us have a look at the causes of the disease.
Causes of Microscopic Colitis
The exact cause of microscopic colitis is not known presently. Different researches are being carried out and according to some researchers; prolonged use of certain medications might be responsible for the inflammation of this kind in the colon. One opinion is that some bacteria which produce toxins that might be irritating to the colon – may also be responsible for this condition. Another study suggests that viruses that sometimes trigger inflammation may be the causative factor. Some studies link malabsorption of the bile acid with this type of inflammation.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2017). Microscopic Colitis. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/microscopic-colitis
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